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Roberts Space Industries ®






October 31st 2013

Lore Builder: Three: Racing Events & Sataball

Lore Builder: Issue Three

Hello again. This is LORE BUILDER, where we look to you, the community, to help flesh out those dark illusive corners of the Star Citizen lore. If you happen to be new to this feature, please check out the caveats at the beginning of the first issue to bring you up to speed with what has already been established.

Continuing with the Murray Cup for a moment, some of you tackled events that helped shape the course of Murray Cup racing:

_(From Mufossa75

While the Murray Cup is well entrenched and ingrained with life in the Ellis system, there had been a decision by the race’s Board of Directors to try “taking it on the road.” Between 2662 and 2675 and then again from 2789 to 2812 the Cup race was held in a different system each year. The argument was that changing systems every year would make the Cup that much more challenging.

Soon, however, the politics determining the next race location became a source of great intrigue and even scandal. Also, a growing movement of “traditionalists” based in the Ellis system began petitioning the UEE to return the race to Ellis permanently. The traveling days of the Cup ended when, during the 2812 race in the Croshaw system, Josiah Wallace, during a very tight turn around Angeli’s “Port Benjamin” Trojan point station, lost control of his modified RSI Torch and slammed it into Governor Bjorn’s yacht, destroying it and killing the governor, his wife and their elder two sons. Wallace, of course, was also killed in the explosion. It was the very incident that secured the traditionalists the support of the UEE Senate and, ultimately, the Imperator. The Murray Cup race returned to Ellis in 2813 and has remained there ever since.

_(From Decius

The credibility of Murray Cup racing was nearly destroyed in a 2815 scandal which has since been referred to simply as “The Big Fix” by racing aficionados. Coming into the race, two-time champion Ameera Morello was the heavy favorite in early betting, with arch-rival Makena Cisse seen as the only real competitor. Morello and Cisse were locked in a close race from beginning to end, until a last-minute collision allowed relatively unknown racer Julio Fong to cross the finish line first.

Bettors lost heavily, and amidst allegations of foul play an investigation was launched to assure fans of the integrity of the sport. The results of the yearlong investigation would rock the Murray Cup to the core. Morello, Cisse and Fong were all implicated in a scheme to fix the outcome of the race, after financial records traced large payments to the trio originating in the Cathcart system. As the investigators analyzed betting data further, they realized that the 2815 race was not an exception, but rather part of an ongoing race-fixing scheme tracing back over twenty years.

Cisse, Morello and Fong managed to escape criminal prosecution, but were banned for life from the Murray Cup, along with 17 other racers who were found to have participated over the course of the scheme. The incident led to a number of reforms intended to clean up the sport and reduce the underworld influence which had lingered with the Murray Cup since its inauguration. Though many fans at the time complained
the reforms sapped the Murray Cup’s outlaw spirit, turning it into a more corporate event, modern analysts agree that the Murray Cup likely would not have retained its popularity without the reforms which followed “The Big Fix.”

_(From Jankins

Although the Murray Cup is currently the biggest race in the racing scene it is not the only. Before the Murray Cup, winning the Carrington Cup was the ultimate achievement for any racer. The first Carrington Cup was held in 2418, funded almost entirely by Charles Carrington, who had made a fortune from his work in
experimental engine designs. Carrington did not offer any credits as a prize to the winners of his races, but gave away experimental parts that gave any deserving racer a bit more power than was otherwise available on the market. These races were not very well known, but any aspiring racer dreamed of winning the Carrington Cup.

The Carrington Cup disappeared altogether in 2491. Carrington’s company could not produce new parts fast enough for race winners. He switched to offering prize money, but in its last decade fewer and fewer racers competed. One of the biggest contributors to the demise of the Carrington Cup was the infamous race of 2489. A pack of pirates ambushed the leading racers near the end of the track, killing four racers, including Tom “The Garbage” Pyle, who had four Carrington Cup and two Murray Cup wins under his belt. Some speculate that Amon Murray had paid racers to not attend the Carrington Cup and paid pirates to disrupt the 2489 Carrington Cup, but nothing was ever proven. Charles Carrington’s great-great-grandson Sean Smyth brought back the race in 2611, over a century after the last race and half a century after Carrington’s experimental engine company went bankrupt. The Carrington Cup is still held every year, and although it is a respected race, it cannot compare to today’s Murray Cup races.

This story was based around the Origin Galactic Guide, specifically the quote “The 350r is the dedicated racer model of the line, used as a base by professional racing teams around the galaxy. 350r’s have a storied history, with more Carrington wins than any other spacecraft.”

The comments from Tem Barone, Travis-ts and Sergeant_Hull brought up an excellent point. While the Murray Cup may be the ultimate achievement in ship racing, it’s not the only game in town. There should be a host of illegal or minor league racing circuits, but those will undoubtedly be a little more closely tied to game mechanics, so we will have to hold off before delving into them.

With that, we’ll leave the Murray Cup for a bit. If you are late to the party and have a great idea for a Murray Cup winner from the past, feel free to leave comments in the first or second issue. We’ll periodically check to look for new entries.

Moving on, this is going to be more of an exercise in active construction.


Beginning as a reference in the StarWatch dispatch, Sataball was just a fun little thing to toss for a bit of background prose (“flipping through the channels to find the news, all he could find were ads, Sataball scores and stupid shows”). Since it’s not part of the game, there hasn’t been a need to flesh it out. Until now …

Here’s the original set of ideas and the vague skeleton of rules to get us started. These aren’t necessarily set in stone, by the way.

What does the sport look like: A combination of the footballs, two teams of six players try to score on their opponent’s goal using a combination of carrying and kicking the ball. The trick is that there are barriers between the goals.

What’s the tone of the sport: Fast. It’s a contact sport, not as much as rugby or American Football, more so than soccer/football, but can be rough. Egregious fouls will get you ejected.

How many players: Teams have twenty-person rosters. Six can be on the field at any time.

How are teams organized: As with basketball, there are no set positions, offering a variety of ways to play the game. Some teams have rotating goalies, others will mass defensively or offensively.

Game Length: 4 quarters (15 Standard Earth Minutes per quarter). Local leagues might have quarters adjusted to their local time.

The Field: An octagon (not entirely sold on this, just felt more interesting than a rectangle).

The Barriers: This was Rob’s idea. In the major league, there are staggered barriers positioned throughout the field that will turn off and on throughout the game (possibly increasing/decreasing frequency as the game progresses?). These barriers will stop/ricochet the ball but not a player. - The barriers are controlled by a pre-programmed series of switches. Before (and after) each match, the program is inspected by a Sataball engineer to verify that there are no inconsistencies in the pattern. Since every Sataball game for that season uses the same pattern, it is possible for the players to try and memorize the barrier pattern, but that’s very difficult, especially in the heat of a game. This is made even more complicated as every season begins with the creation of a new pattern.

So for next week, here are some questions to figure out:

  • When was the game created? Under what circumstances?
  • What are some of the rules? Fouls? Possible example: The ball becomes dead after two ricochets (play doesn’t stop, it just can’t score).
  • How does the running/kicking dynamic work? Can you dribble the ball indefinitely while only get a handful of steps if you carry the ball?
  • Should there be an active field overhead to prevent the players from lobbing the ball down field?
  • What is the Super Bowl/World Cup?
  • What are some teams? We already have the Terra Gryphons (as mentioned in StarWatch).

While we flesh out the rules and the game itself, one thing to keep in mind: despite all the cool technology that we want to incorporate into the major league incarnation, we still want the game to be simple enough for kids from any economic background to play in the streets. That feels like the prime reason why polo (for example) will never go mainstream. At its core, it’s too expensive and requires too many ‘things’ to play.

Baseball, for example, has vast tomes of rules, positions, and gear, but if you really wanted to play, all you need is two people (one pitches, one bats), a stick and a vaguely ball-shaped thing. In short, keep the game scaleable.

So, in the case of Sataball’s barriers, if you see an amateur league game or see it on the street, players will just build them out of sheet metal or scrap.

Until next week …

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